The Portland Timbers took on the Columbus Crew at Jeld-Wen Field in a game described as one both sides were desperately looking for three from. In the end, they each had to settle for one. The Timbers and Crew played to a 0-0 draw in front of a sold-out crowd.
The game was played like that, two teams desperate for a win battling each other. The pace and tempo were high throughout, which was a major step in the right direction for Portland. They have a losing record on the year so far not because they've been beaten in games for 90 minutes, but because they have dropped their pace and lost their on-field organization for a few minutes at a time.
"I think the tempo of the game was relentless," Timbers' goalkeeper Troy Perkins said. "We really went after them."
That's true, but sometimes the game did look scattered and too back-and-forth. Neither side was able to put together a sustained attack, mostly just reacting to what happened. Darlington Nagbe was the brightest spot on the Timbers' roster. He continued to show glimpses of just how good he will be.
Perkins had another good outing, making a couple of good saves and one great one. His stop in the 66th minute absolutely preserved the draw, and gave the Rose City side a chance to win. He was wearing a protective mask to help shield his injured face. Last week in Montreal, Timbers took a nasty hit to his nose that is still healing. He never once backed off from wanting to play, saying all week he would be in goal unless the doctors or coaches wouldn't let him.
Still problems scoring
The Timbers haven't scored a goal in the last three outings. They did get a win over Sporting Kansas City in that span, but that came off an SKC own goal. They took more than their share of shots against Columbus, but many weren't quality chances, and others were missed or stopped by the 'keeper. This game looked early on like the first side to a goal would win, but neither could break through.
Portland fired 15 shots, 8 of them on goal, but too many of those were easy saves. Columbus had 8 shots, with three of them on goal.
After dropping four of their last five, a draw was a move in the right direction for Portland, and they exhibited the same kind of strong defense that gave them the win against SKC. Now, they just need to get back to scoring goals.
Jeff Musall has been a fan of the Portland Timbers since he moved to the area in 2001. He is excited about the 2012 season and wants to see the season turn in the Timbers' favor.